Squiggly Fluorenscent Bulbs can be Dangerous

By Corinne Rose

June 18, 2010 Updated Feb 28, 2008 at 7:29 PM EDT

(Fort Wayne, IN) -- You might have at least one of those new kinds of spiral, fluorescent light bulbs in your home.

They're designed to save you energy.

But how safe are they?

Compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFL's, use 50% less electricity than a regular light bulb, which means you draw less energy from power plants.

But CFL's contain mercury.

And even though it's only enough to fit on the tip of a ball point pen, it's enough to be dangerous if the bulb breaks, either on a hard or carpeted surface.

Immediately open a window and shut off the heat or air conditioning, so mercury vapors don't spread through your house.

Then use a playing card or piece of cardboard to scrape up the pieces.

Craig Voros\Allen Co. Solid Waste Mgt: " You're going to want to put that in a glass jar or a heavy plastic jar, like a peanut butter jar. Store the glass in there, the phosphorus in there. If there is some more white powder, that's the phosphorus I'm talking about, you can use some electrical tape or some duct tape to get that up, as well."

If you vacuum the area, immediately remove the vacuum's bag and put it in a plastic bag.

If you're concerned about a small child or pet being near the affected area, you can throw away the area rug or cut out the piece of carpet.

If the bulb is intact but burned out, don't throw it out.

Take it to a recycling center, or call the Allen County Solid Waste Management District at 449-7878.

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